The wait is almost over for London, Ont., Young people eager to return to sport.
As of January 31, Ontario will begin easing COVID-19 restrictions on select businesses, including allowing 50 percent capacity in restaurants, retailers and sports and recreational fitness facilities.
In a statement to Global News, the province confirmed that from January 31, it would “increase or maintain capacity limits at 50 percent in most indoor public environments, including non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities.”
“This will include youth sports facilities,” the statement said.
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Abbi Lezizidis, president of Whitecaps London Soccer Club, says they are ready to return.
“I am very confident that we will be back by the end of the month,” he said. “We are still waiting for details from our governing body, which is the Ontario Football (league).”
The football club held virtual online training sessions for its players.
Lezizidis says if everything goes according to plan, “we will not have to adjust any schedules. All the teams already have their schedules, we will only have to provide them with a start date. “
“All the hard work has been done, it’s just a matter of getting the last green light (as) we sit here waiting for the light to turn green,” he laughed.
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Kevin Garden, the VP of hockey operations for the London Jr. Knights, telling 980 CFPL they also plan to return on January 31st.
“There are some hurdles we have to deal with, mainly to reschedule the matches that were missed,” he said.
But despite the challenges, Garden says there is a lot of excitement.
“I’ve had a few calls from coaches (and) parents who are eager for us to be back and they’re looking forward to getting their kids back on the ice, to seeing their mates and teammates.”
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Dr. Alex Summers, the acting medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said during a media briefing last week that the health unit is still waiting for clarification on what Ontario’s lifting of restrictions on youth sports will mean.
“I would say, non-essential activities should be limited as much as possible to maintain essential activities like going to school,” Summers said.
From 12:01 a.m. on January 31, the following institutions will have a capacity limit of 50 percent, some of which were previously closed:
- Restaurants, bars and other food or beverage establishments without dance facilities.
- Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies).
- Shopping malls.
- Non-spectator areas of sports and leisure fitness facilities, including gyms.
- Meeting and event spaces.
- Recreational facilities and amusement parks, including water parks.
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions.
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.
- Religious services, rites or ceremonies.
– with files by Andrew Graham and Gabby Rodrigues of Global News
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